You could hear toads croaking feebly outside of the old house, on the half-dry pond's bank in the backyard. A few crickets made themselves known, some owl calls, far away in the woods. The planks of the corridor on the first floor creaked softly under the young man's feet and he briefly froze to reorient himself before beginning to walk cautiously again, one hand on the corridor's wall to guide his steps in the unfamiliar darkness. He hoped that refreshing himself by splashing some cold water on his face would help him fall asleep; it was past three AM already and he couldn't close one eye. He didn't know if it was the strange house, the noises in the woods or the bed with its too fluffy feather mattress, but…
No, in fact, he knew what was truly keeping him awake. It was his worry for one of his comrades, in a dangerous mission far from them, in a place where they couldn't assist him if ever he needed it, along with the choking silence of this shack lost in the woods where two boys were finding themselves all alone, isolated from everything, with an unease between them, and nothing, especially not the familiar and friendly presence of their comrade, to act as a buffer, to laugh at their silences, to calm their discord, to mediate their competitions, to soothe their nervousness in front of the only person against which they could take the true measure of themselves. The only person they resembled so much as to understand well, and yet not closely enough to admit an eventual superiority.
Well, that was Wufei's personal point of view. That he was like Heero, or that Heero was like him. But Heero was too gifted, too powerful, too fast, too entirely devoted to his mission, for Wufei not to feel pushed to compete, to prove that he was better than this soldier so wholly committed to the cause, to prove that he was still the most intelligent, the strongest, the most dangerous, like he had always been, ever since childhood. Heero was the only one among all his challengers who could pretend, not only to get to his level, but also to overtake him, and Wufei couldn't tolerate it easily. It was too bad… since what made Heero a frightening adversary also made him one of the very few persons he could relate to and respect.
Since Duo had left for his mission, silence had fallen between them. They had ceased cooking and eating together and spending time in the same room just to watch TV beside somebody. They had nearly stopped nodding a greeting to the other in the morning. And it was even worse than living alone, because they could still catch glimpses of the other passing like a phantom, present, acting, but without any effect on their personal life.
And Wufei didn't have anyone to talk with, whom to confide in with his concerns, his thoughts, his interrogations, his worries for their comrade. So, his worry accumulated and poisoned him, like a wound that can't heal because it isn't cleaned.
But Heero was not the sort of person you could confide in, and even if he had been, he would have been the last person to whom the Chinese boy would have admitted that he was so concerned about the braided American's fate. Because what kind of moron goes and admits his worry for his crush to the official boyfriend of said crush?
Heero's bedroom door was half-opened, the room he would share with Duo when he got back, and a ray of feeble light, hardly perceptible, streamed through it, streaking the darkness of the corridor. Leaning against the doorframe, Wufei glanced inside by reflex, and at the beginning didn't see anything other than a few rays of moonlight seeping through the slits in the shutters, streaking the dark room and half of the high and fluffy bed just under the steep roof. The attic window actually opened just above the bed; to get out of the room, there wasn't even any need to put one foot on the floor. But one half of the bed was in shadows deeper than the rest of the room, darker than the corridor.
And there, two blue eyes glistened, looking at him.
Stiffening, the Chinese went to leave, closing the door behind him, ashamed of having been caught spying on a comrade's room when he was supposed to be asleep.
"Leave it open," came the whisper. "I want to hear him when he comes back."
The admittance had been made in such a feeble whisper that if Wufei had not had a superior sense of hearing, he wouldn't have heard.
He reopened the door, leaving it half-open, meditating on the fact that his great rival had admitted waiting for the sound of his lover's steps, awake, alone in his bed. If he had needed proof to rest assured that Duo's feelings toward him were reciprocated, he couldn't have asked for a better one.
It was hard, to know that the boy he was in love with was with his rival; very hard. But he refused to treat Duo's heart like a trophy. If he was happy being with Yuy, well… so be it. He would support them, protect them, would do anything as long as Duo could be happy with Heero. The only thing he was wary of, because it was the only thing he hadn't any control over, and the thing that could hurt Duo the worst, was what Heero felt back. Because, with his usual behavior, it was impossible to know what Duo was for him: The man of his life? A flirt? A warm body to satisfy his adolescent needs?
But Heero stayed awake to wait for him by night, when he was supposed to be asleep.
He stepped back, began to continue his journey to the antique bathroom.
He heard a rustling of sheets, saw a dark shape vaguely move in the black hole under the roof. Heero must be sitting up now.
"You calculated the probabilities, with the new information?"
He didn't have to ask probabilities of what. Probabilities of success of the mission, of course. They both knew that nothing else truly mattered.
"I did it," answered Wufei while stepping forward in the room, whispering without really knowing why. "Not you?"
There was a vaguely annoyed sigh, and a shape that was probably an arm bent, then a noise of hair raked in nervousness permeated the darkness.
"Yes, of course. I just wanted… " …'to be reassured', heard Wufei. "… to know your opinion."
Wufei realized that he had been totally mistaken on the Japanese boy's coldness. It was only an act, a façade. Heero was truly worried for Duo. Enough to open up to Wufei, between all the people they knew. Madly in love; no other causes possible.
"He's going to make it," said the Chinese boy suddenly, without really knowing why he was trying to reassure his rival. He could accept his place at the side of the man he loved, it didn't mean that he had to… but with that, is was even more perceptible, this similitude between the two of them, even in their feelings. "He is strong, he is intelligent, he is creative. I never met someone as resourceful as he is. If anyone can pull this mission off it's him, it's why he received it. I am very honored to have him as a teammate. He will make it."
Heero let himself fall back on the mattress, and sighed a long sigh.
"I know… I didn't mean that he isn't good enough for the task, just…I worry," he finished in a very low voice, slightly ashamed. "I don't mean to say that he's not worthy, but… accidents do not get foreseen. And if…?"
"Yuy… Maxwell has the Devil's own luck. He'll be back soon."
His throat tightened, and Wufei stopped speaking. What was he doing? Trying to comfort his rival by repeating a thing that his own worried heart had trouble convincing itself? If he didn't believe it, why would Yuy believe? Especially since he had to have said and repeated the same thing himself… not that it worked, if you believed appearances.
Wufei heard it in the voice of his concurrent, this incertitude, this doubt, this need to be convinced, the same feelings as his own.
Silently, he turned an about face. He didn't know what to say. And this situation was really too strange, alone in the dark, standing in the middle of a room, with Yuy laying down in his bed only a few steps away.
"… I know that you worry too."
He froze more absolutely than if he had become stone. His heart jumped. Had he divulged his feelings to the partner of the one he was in love with? Did Heero know… Did he know?
"Come here…" softly called the Japanese boy's muffled voice, and an arm rose motioning him to come nearer. He obeyed without even realizing that he had the possibility to do otherwise, stopped hardly two steps from the bed.
"Thanks… For trying to help me I mean."
Yuy's voice sounded embarrassed, slightly sulky, but sincere. He felt incredibly embarrassed, more than from the statement itself. He shrugged.
"Let's not talk about this."
Yuy let out a short laugh.
"Duo trains me to act more humanly," he admitted all at once. "He tells me that I should… speak more about what I feel. That nobody's going to look at me strangely for that. So I try. I want to be able to open up for him. I hope it doesn't bother you… that I test on you I mean. But the fact is that it's kind of my personal mission to talk about things like that."
Wufei was stupefied, astonished. He laughed a little, more because of the surprise than because it was truly funny.
"He trains you to act more humanly?" he asked in a slightly warmer tone.
Heero tapped the bed beside him, and in his totally disoriented state, Wufei didn't understand right away what was expected of him.
Realization hitting him, he sat gingerly, hesitant, under the impression that he had been sucked into the fourth dimension.
"Yes…" admitted Heero in a lower tone, nearly imperceptible. "Because it hurts him when I withdraw. And I train him to think before he speaks, because sometimes he hurts people without meaning to. It's worth it, I think," he added in a meditative voice.
Wufei nodded pensively, forgetting that Heero couldn't see him that well. It was true, he had noticed that Duo had changed since he was with Heero, that he had become calmer, less manic, less overexcited. More in peace with himself.
It was a relationship exceptionally balanced and healthy, especially at their age and in such circumstances.
"It's true… You're good for one another," he added offhandedly, gulping down in silence the knot in his throat.
Heero didn't answer, just briefly rested his hand on the black-haired boy's shoulder. Wufei kept himself from starting, wondering if the other had felt his shoulder tense.
"It isn't easy sometimes," Heero admitted, thoughtful. "Sometimes, it's like we’re strangers. I don't always understand, like when he complains that his hair is knotting, he wants me to brush it out for him, he doesn't understand that when I go to work on Wing, I want to be alone a little, to think. He thinks I don't love him anymore."
"He's affectionate, that’s for sure," agreed Wufei.
It was so bizarre, nearly surreal, to be collecting Yuy's confessions on his relationship with Duo… But on the other hand, the darkness made it easier. And for once, they were in harmony, not in opposition.
"I just need a little space… Because I’m unaccustomed to not being alone. I’m lucky that you are here to talk with him, or play chess, or whatever it is you do together. Sometimes I just can't."
The black-haired boy shrugged, refusing to accept the indirect approval on the companionship he offered. If he had listened to his jealous side, he would probably have given a biting retort on his total disinterest about Yuy's approval on his friendship with Duo, but he knew he didn't have the right. And for once…just once…he didn't want to have a fight with him.
"He needs to be reassured of the existence of your… link. He interprets your need of solitude as a rejection of him. He just needs a little confidence in the strength of your relationship; it hasn't been that long after all. After a while, when he sees that you're still there, his needs of fusion will calm down…"
There was a short bout of silence.
Wufei wondered what the hell was going on with him. He was playing matrimonial counselor with his man's man.
"You know him well."
Heero's voice was neutral, a simple observation.
Wufei grunted an answer, mortified. Even if Heero was twice as hopeless with human relationships as he gave off the impression of being, and Wufei now knew that it was just that, an impression, he would have to be hit by an attack of selective amnesia and the sudden debility not to suspect the depth of Wufei's feelings toward his comrade, after this tirade.
"You know, it's annoying to talk to someone standing up when you're laying down," calmly remarked Heero.
Wufei lied down at the edge of the mattress, his back straight as a board, then cursed himself. He could have taken the sentence as an opening to take his leave, but now that he was in place, it was too late.
Heero threw the cover over him, including him in the soft warmth of his nest. Wufei turned his head toward him, his eyes wide open.
"You worry a lot too, huh?" whispered the Japanese boy.
The black-eyed boy bit his lip and didn't answer.
The mattress moved, a presence approached him, not quite close enough to really touch, but just enough for him to feel the warmth along his flank. An arm draped itself around his torso.
"Do you miss him too?" murmured the boy, his warm breath caressing his cheek and ear.
Wufei gulped and blinked a few times. It stung, and he didn't understand why. He was suddenly under the impression that he was going to cry.
"Yes…" he admitted, closing his eyes, letting himself go with the sensation of warmth from the covers, the weight on his chest, the presence at his side, in this cocoon of comfort and darkness.
He was warm, nearly hot, and was surrounded from all sides with soft and supple things, the mattress much more slack that he was used to, the feather comforter snugly molded to his body. A source of nearly burning warmth was at his back, but it didn't suffocate him, quite the contrary, he found it very comfortable and comforting.
But it was far from being as supple as the rest of his surroundings.
Especially this ardent rigidity, very localized, that he felt pressed against his lower back.
The sleepy moan woke him fully, dragging him back to the present, out of his still half-asleep state. The memory of the astonishing meeting from the day before came back to him, and he realized, looking at the steep moonlight-striped ceiling, that he was still in the bedroom under the roof.
In Duo and Heero's bed.
And Heero was molded against his back, and…
To be more precise, he was pressing nearer to Wufei, tightening his arms around him to draw him against his chest, pressing his hips against Wufei’s buttocks.
Horrified, Wufei realized that the blue-eyed boy had the beginnings of an erection.
His heart jumped when Yuy's breathing lifted the hairs on his nape and caressed his skin. When he felt his face hide in his shining black locks, freed, he didn't know when, from his ponytail. He closed his eyes and grit his teeth. His forehead was covered with sweat, as if suddenly, all the temperature that hadn't affected him before, had decided to act all at once.
"Yuy…?" he murmured.
No answer; as he thought, the other boy was probably still asleep.
He slid one of his arms along the one Yuy had around his waist and closed his hand on its wrist to try to disengage himself gently. Yet the arm refused to move, on the contrary it closed a little more firmly, sliding a little farther around him. He felt the boy's fingertips slip onto a patch of skin that his slightly rolled up t-shirt revealed, caressing his stomach light as a butterfly's wings. Wufei's eyes shot wide open and his muscles contracted.
After a second of stillness, Heero's hand slowly advanced again on his belly, slipping further under the T-shirt. He felt a shock run through his body when his comrade's rough palm pressed lightly against his abdomen, caressing.
Searching through his hair, Yuy nuzzled against his nape, like a cat. Wufei felt lips brush against his earlobe and turned his head away, burying his burning face into the pillow.
As a knee pressed against the back of his thighs, trying to clear a passage between them, Wufei shouted a surprised, wordless exclamation, luckily muffled by the pillow, "Mmpff!" His leg muscles clenched involuntarily with violence, and Heero answered with a slow push against his butt and a sigh of sleepy pleasure. His erection was definitely getting easier to feel.
"Heero? Heero!" Wufei hissed with impatience.
He had tried to stay silent and wait for it to pass, since he couldn't escape without waking Heero. He had tried to preserve their hesitant relationship, that embarrassment, without a doubt, would make a massacre of by keeping silent on his comrade's actions. After all, no one could control himself during sleep. And he couldn't get angry with him, especially since Heero was used to having a boy with a similar build to his in his bed. He knew that if Heero realized what he had done, if it was known that Wufei had let those contacts continue, he would never be able to find himself in his presence without feeling dreadfully embarrassed.
But too much was too much! He wasn't going to let him hump him like a dog in heat.
"Heero!" he called again, slightly louder this time.
"Duo…" mumbled the boy against his nape, tenderly kissing the bare skin behind his ear.
Wufei jumped as if shot. Evidently he had been right when he assumed Heero thought he was with Duo. As if Heero could get interested in Wufei this way when he had Duo. Resolutely, he unwound the hold the sleeping boy had on him, and tried to get away, half turning toward the other boy in the process. At his side, Heero opened an eye, yawning.
The black-haired boy sighed, relieved, his breath quivering from all the nervous tension accumulated since his awakening. At long last, Heero recognized him…
"Hi…" murmured the half-awake boy while bending over him and depositing a light kiss on the corner of his lips.
Wufei froze in place, totally incredulous.
"Stop it! What's gotten into you? Do you have the slightest idea what Duo would think if he came back now?! If he saw his boyfriend kiss his best friend?!"
"He'd get angry at me because I didn't wait for him, " answered Yuy, totally serious, stretching nonchalantly.
There was a long silence from the Chinese boy.
"What?" Wufei finally asked in a low voice, a note of menace very clear in his tone.
He didn't know what Heero was implying, but it didn't seem very flattering for his honor or his friend's. He seemed to be implying that Duo was the sort of man who liked to bed people other than his official boyfriend.
"Wufei, tell me the truth," Heero responded, staring at him right to the bottom of his eyes, an air of absolute sincerity on his face.
"What?" answered the L5 pilot , frowning.
As if he lied on a regular basis!
What was getting into Heero for him to look at him so seriously when the subject was…something like that!!
"You are in love with him, isn't that true?"
The Chinese teenager felt himself go rigid.
"It's as visible as the nose in the middle of your face, if you only take the time to observe the way you act in his presence from the outside…" Heero answered in a neutral voice.
The teen was petrified, unable to move or think. That thought in his emptied brain, so very incongruous that he nearly laughed… then he thought that it wasn't so incongruous and the nervous laugh died before having escaped from his throat. He had been wondering if his sword was suitable for a seppuku ritual.
He was dead. Heero knew that Wufei wanted his lover for himself.
"Duo doesn't know. He hasn't got the slightest clue… I don't feel I have the right to tell him."
He couldn't prevent himself from sighing, relieved of a part of the weight on his chest.
But it was only for Heero to decide to divulge his secret to Duo…and in doing so, to soil his friendship with Duo, the only thing he had from the boy. He didn't have any intention of taking Duo from Yuy, but he could understand very well that the other Asian teenager would not want to see them associate with each other too much.
"Do not resent me… I can't stop myself…" he pleaded in a whisper, a little ashamed, but knowing that he would do anything, even get on his knees if that was what it took, not to be prevented from being friends with Duo. It was the only thing he authorized himself to want from him.
Heero laughed softly, surprising him.
"It would be akin to hypocrisy, don't you think, to resent you because you have been attracted to the same thing that attracted me in the first place?"
'Errm. True, seen like that…'
"You are strange," answered Wufei, clenching his teeth, not knowing if the other boy was mocking him or not, if he really was as honest and open as his words suggested.
"I am logical. YOU are strange. It seems like you WANT me to get angry at you. What are you searching for? A punishment for daring to want another's boyfriend?" he asked with an unexpected receptivity. "I am not intending to please you if that's what you're searching for. As you said, you are not responsible for your feelings, and after all it's not as if you had tried to take him from me behind my back. In fact you did everything so as not to reveal yourself…" he added, pensive.
"He is with you. I will not disgrace myself with trying to break up a couple visibly so… so well-fitted just to satisfy my own selfish wants. Duo is happy. It's enough for me."
'It is enough for me' he thought with force, trying not to hear the creaking of his teeth, nor to feel the pain of his short nails digging into his palms.
"Do you know why Duo is with me?"
He had accented the me in such a strange way… Wufei stared at him, surprised. What was he trying to say?
"By hazard," Yuy added, answering his own question. "By pure hazard. I see it as good luck, but it is a matter of point of view."
"How dare you say that? Duo had been in love with you way before you got together!!" exclaimed Wufei, sitting up in a leap and bending over Heero, furious, fists clenched.
Heero stared quietly at him, still as serious, looking, as if he was searching for something on his face.
"Because, he's in love with you too."
Wufei barked an incredulous laugh and the muscles in his jaw jumped wildly as he was waiting for the punch line of the joke, but it didn't come.
Heero nodded for himself, as if he had found in his expression exactly what he had been searching for.
"I was lucky. We found ourselves in a situation where his feelings and mine were clearly visible for each other, and that's when we became a couple. I was in love with him; he was in love with me… But Wufei, if you had been in my place that day, it's you he would be with now, because he loved you too, from the beginning. It's for that, that I call it luck, although I can understand if you don't see it in the same way."
"It isn't true…" pleaded the boy.
"He wanted us both equally, and yet, was resigned to have neither of us. When he had a chance with me, he grabbed it with both hands, because he thought that having one of the two was better than having none. He really thought he wouldn't have a chance with either of us. When he saw that at least one of us returned his feelings, he took it as a gift… he didn't ask himself too many questions."
Wufei fell back on the bed, his eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling without really seeing it.
"We're happy together… It doesn't prevent him from still loving you. Doesn't prevent him from wanting you, and I am not the one to fill this place in him…" Heero put a finger to the other boy's lips to silence his protests. "…No better than you can fill mine."
"Why are you telling me this?" moaned the Chinese teen, pressing his hands to his eyes. "Why now?"
"He misses you. Not like a friend, but as… more. And to feel unauthorized to love you hurts him. He feels guilty, both about me and about you, because he thinks you just love him as a friend, that you would never want more, and he fears being rejected if you know."
"How do you know?"
"He told me… He thought I was going to kick him out of my life, but he still felt that I had a right to know," he added distractedly.
"I wonder why," Wufei shot back in a sarcastic tone, still trying to perceive this incredible revelation his comrade had bestowed upon him.
Heero wouldn't lie on that… Or he was a worse bastard than anyone Wufei had ever known, and he had known some good ones!
Duo loved him. Loved them both.
Well, ok. 'Let's breathe Wufei. It would be good not to pass out before sorting this mess out.'
He took a big breath. And another. Then he ran his palms over his face, pressing them against his eyelids.
Duo was in love with him. Should he feel happy that his feelings were returned?
It was just an even crueler torture, to know that with a little luck, he could have been the one with which the boy with the so long hair and the so big heart shared his love and his bed. That he had finally had a chance. That he had missed it.
It was even worse to know that on his side too, Duo suffered because of that. That Duo hurt, not to be able to be with him. That Wufei couldn't do anything to make it better, to lessen the suffering of the one he loved, especially when the solution would have lessened his own pain too. Heero had been the first to have admitted his feelings.
Wufei wanted to dash out of the room and never look back, but then he knew that Heero would know he was crying. He didn't want to lower himself to that point. His pride wouldn't permit it.
"What's between him and me is unbreakable, Wufei," said Heero in a vaguely detached tone of voice, sounding nearly dreamy.
Chang sat up in a leap, furious, again ready to hit the other boy.
"I never intended on coming between you and him," he hissed, menacingly, "and you know it, so…"
Suddenly, he found himself on Yuy's hard torso, one arm around his waist like an iron band, one hand in his hair, and his words full of anger and venom lost in the depths of the other boy's mouth.
Paralyzed by his surprise, he didn't even think of trying to get clear of him, to close his lips to the tongue acquainting itself with the inside of his mouth.
"Are you listening to me now?"
In the little room's darkness, he could only vaguely see his visage, his shape nearly offered under him, his undisciplined hair spilled on the pillow, his eyes glistening from under his bangs, staring at him with a frightening intensity, and the touch of saliva on his lower lip glimmering under the moonlight.
He gulped. If Heero had wanted to make him shut up, it was a success. For the moment, he had trouble remembering his own name.
"What's between him and me is unbreakable. It's special. Nothing can ever get between him and me, not even you. You cannot take anything from me, Wufei, nothing from what he gives me."
He squirmed, ill at ease. Heero pressed a finger on his lips to shush him, a slight smile on his face. Wufei remembered he was laying down on the other's body and stopped moving altogether.
"You know what he said to me one day? That love is the only thing in the world that you could share and share again, without ever having the size of the parts decreasing. In truth, most people don't have this ability, I am not naive enough to believe it, but him, I know his heart is big enough to make it true."
The Chinese boy ceased to breathe. He didn't dare understanding where Heero was going.
He didn't want to. Hoping hurt.
"… If it doesn't deprive me of anything, for him to love you too… why prevent you both from it?"
The black-haired boy let out a strangled sob. His throat was squeezing so hard he had troubles breathing, and he couldn't disengages his eyes from Yuy's, who was staring at him with his such serious, intense blue irises, waiting for a reaction.
"You're proposing to me to…"
"To share… if you think you can."
"Let's see, either half of Duo or nothing at all…? It truly is a stupid question, Yuy," he said in a tone he was struggling to make sarcastic, but which, to his utter shame, came out half-strangled with emotion.
Heero gave him an amused little smile. The bastard already knew what his answer was, Wufei was sure of it.
…How he felt happy for Duo, that he had such a man as his companion… Ready to go to such lengths for him … How he felt happy to know that his Duo was in such good hands… Had he been in Yuy's place, he wasn't sure he could have made such a sacrifice, and it humbled him.
He squinted his eyes, trying to keep at bay the tears welling up, refusing to cry before Heero anyway.
The hand in his hair made him slowly lower his head, until his face was nestled in the hollow of his neck, warm, reassuring, so incredibly intimate, and there, it was ok to cry, just a little, because Heero couldn't see him anymore, so he cried, just a little. It was just nervousness.
He felt a caress, in his hair, slow, reassuring, fingers smoothing his ruffled strands, tenderly disentangling them, and wondered if Heero did that with Duo too. If he did it now precisely because he knew to which point it was soothing. If he massaged his skull with the pads of his fingers, if he caressed the soft patch of skin behind his ears and his earlobes with the end of his nails, hardly a contact at all, if his palm nested as affectionately on the roundness at the base of the skull, where it met his nape.
He wondered if it made Duo shiver too.
"You still haven't answered my question, now that I think of it…"
His comrade's voice was low, nearly purring, a whisper that did hardly break the silence of the night.
"Admit it, you just want to hear me say it out loud," Wufei said back in his usual cynical tone, disengaging with great regret from the comfortable hug, which sadly had now lasted more than enough for his already damaged pride.
"I'll admit," Heero said, sounding amused.
Wufei took in his breath, gathering his courage.
"I agree to share Duo with you. If he wants it."
"He will want you."
"You don't know anything about this!" protested Wufei just so as to not let him have the last word.
"I know better than you."
"Argh, you…." growled the Chinese pilot, lifting a menacing hand.
Laughing throatily, the blue-eyed boy caught his wrist and turned him over on the mattress. Wufei vaguely tried to fight the momentum, surprised by his playful mood, and Heero pinned him under himself to prevent him from escaping his clutches.
He felt desire for Wufei, that he knew, had learned it with surprise in the week during which Duo had been gone. He had spied on the boy when he was doing his morning exercises when he had been trying to understand what exactly it was that Duo found so interesting in him; trying to decide if he truly could accept the plan he was forming in his head to make the three of them happy.
The passion with which the Chinese fighter was surrendering to his katas, his black eyes fierce, as if he was fighting a real enemy, the sweat glistening on his skin in the dawn's light…
Oh, yes, he was totally able to see what Duo saw in him.
And if one day Wufei could see what Duo saw in Heero, the messy-haired boy would be very content. It would be much easier to manage if he could have Duo with him without having to chase Wufei off, and if he didn't have to exile himself when it would be Wufei's turn to have some time with their common lover. To have to count hours and decide in advance the days of the week they could have the braided boy for themselves seemed doomed to failure on a long term.
"Will you move from there someday? You aren't precisely a lightweight, Yuy," Wufei grunted rudely, pushing against his shoulder, stopping his deep thoughts. Heero answered by stopping to prop himself up on his arms and letting all of his weight fall on his comrade's torso.
Wufei was captive in a cocoon of covers and a soft mattress which let him sink into its depths, and a muscled body was pressing on him… the boy just had the time to wonder if he really wanted Heero to move, before he felt Heero’s face brush against his own cheek, then against his throat. He bit his lips, undecided, but his traitorous body decided for him.
When Heero saw the other's throat offered to him, he didn't lose time taking advantage of the invitation.
Strong arms circled his shoulders, and Heero bit the earlobe within his reach, groaning. Wufei rubbed his cheek against his, pressed his face where the Japanese's neck met his shoulder, and began to give back the little kisses bestowed upon his jaw. In a few minutes, they were devouring each other's mouths, their hands traveling, learning each other’s bodies.
The covers had been kicked off the bed a long time ago.
Caressing sharply, brusquely, kissing with fervor, biting, fiercely hugging, strongly pushing his body against the other's body… Wufei felt marvelously good. That was what he liked in other males, this strength equal to his own, this burning passion, which in women was too often only submissive warmth…
And then a thought hit him, like a splash of ice-cold water. Throwing his head back to escape the fierce kiss he had been sharing with his rival, his love's love, he put both his hands on his torso and pushed him back firmly.
"Wait!! Stop, Heero!"
Understanding from the tone of voice that Wufei wasn't playing anymore, Heero moved away, panting, rolled on his side to free the boy from his weight. He leaned on an elbow and turned to Wufei with a surprised and uneasy look. Had the Chinese decided that he couldn't tolerate Heero this way, finally? He hoped not, because he had discovered that he himself was entirely able to find his comrade attractive, even when he was in love with another. And it would definitely be easier to share Duo with Wufei if he had the right to share Wufei too.
Still lying down on his back where he had left him, Wufei was staring at him, his skin flushed, glistening with sweat, ebony locks glued to his bronze-colored skin. His eyes were even darker than was usual, fascinating black wells, bottomless, and Heero caught himself leaning imperceptibly toward them. He briefly shook his head to chase off this wave of desire, it was not the moment anymore. Wufei had, as was his right, said no… No sharing this side too.
"Wait, Heero," repeated Wufei, breathless.
The Japanese teen felt a slight satisfaction when he received confirmation that he was capable of affecting the Chinese teenager this way, but, he knew that, it wasn't enough to make the other boy change his mind.
"We cannot… Not without having talked to Duo first. Otherwise…"
"I don't know if you understand what I mean… I mean… Duo doesn't know that we agreed to… share him, and maybe he won't want to share either of us, not even with one another… so…"
"But you want me?" asked Heero for confirmation. "You’re ok for trying it?"
A dash of color was added to the already pinkish hue of the other boy's skin and he briefly turned his eyes away.
"You are someone that I can respect… That I respect already. And it is useless to hide that you are also someone that can attract me in a sexual way. So… We can always try, as long as you swear to me that it won't change anything as for our behavior toward Duo and our sharing," answered Chang in a very reasonable voice, trying to take refuge in logic to forget a little his embarrassment about talking of such an intimate thing with Yuy.
Heero had a little smile on his face, and Wufei froze. It was a very small smile, nothing to do with the cheeks-tearing, mischievous grins of the American, or the thousand-watt happy smiles from Quatre.
It was like the first crescent of sun above the horizon by early morning, that which changes the tern gray-blue clouds into burning pink and gold explosions.
Independently from his will, his hand raised and went to caress his comrade's cheek, softly. He saw with rapt interest surprise pass fast in the blue eyes darkened with desire, followed by a sort of satisfaction, or of pleasure maybe. Yuy half-closed his eyes and rubbed his cheek against his hand, like a cat.
Wufei let his hand fall back slowly and continued to stare with fascination at the boy bent over him who was caressing him with his eyes. He shared with him a look, a situation of an intimacy so new, a sudden tenderness, enough to make his heart beat faster than his previous caresses.
"I swear it to you."
Wufei needed quite a few long seconds to remember his previous question. Ah yes, that it wouldn't change a thing as to Duo. Then he blinked and nodded, and the smile on Yuy's lips disappeared slowly, even as it stayed in his eyes. Wufei could have lost himself in them. He certainly didn't resent Maxwell for having jumped on the chance of being with Heero, he could see the attraction himself! It was… Usually, all his face was made of ice, including his eyes. But when he let his feelings shine through, it was like seeing a magnificent marble statue come to life. Magical.
He felt so honored that Yuy would let him have glimpses of his deepest feelings.
"For the moment, as long as he hasn't been warned…" he continued not to let himself derive too far into the sudden sentimentalism, in the soft warmth their sudden emotional intimacy made him feel. He shook his head. He had to prevent it from invading him, it was too much. "As long as he hasn't been told… It's nothing more than his lover betraying him with his best friend," he added with a touch of brusqueness.
Heero nodded slowly, pensive.
"Too bad… " he murmured, caressing with a knuckle Wufei's uncovered belly. "But you are right."
Wufei felt his muscles tense involuntarily under the caress, proving to Yuy that he truly had an effect on him that the Chinese was unable to control. But, to his immense gratitude, Heero didn't even seem to notice. Wufei would have badly stood a remark, or even a knowing smile; now that he thought about it, he felt pretty annoyed that a person other than the man he was in love with could put him in such a state.
Heero fell back on the mattress, bending his arm under his head, and huddled nearer to Wufei, to the point where they both were carried away in the only dip their bodies made in the mattress, and put his head on Wufei’s shoulder, winding one arm around his torso.
"Later?" he whispered. His breath caressed his comrade's neck, and Wufei shivered, biting his lips.
"Definitely, Yuy," he shot back in a dry and ironic voice. Even just his warm breath was enough to electrify his skin.
Heero let out a low laugh and wormed his way nearer.
"With Duo in the middle?"
"YUY!! Sleep, now!" shouted Wufei who felt suddenly very bothered by the mental picture Heero had transmitted to him.
"Hai, Chang-sama" the boy deadpanned.
There was a few seconds of silence and the two Asian teens closed their eyes.
"Indubitably. Duo-sandwich… yum," whispered Wufei.
"Chang, sleep, now," answered Yuy, mimicking his previous answer.
Disengaging the arm which was wedged along his flank between himself and Heero, Wufei raised it then passed it under the Japanese boy's head, authorizing him to approach even closer, and briefly squeezed his shoulders before letting himself slide once more in sleep.
The creaking of the door's rusty hinges woke him up. Wufei opened an eye, and then closed it again. There was too much light. Morning already?
But what was it that had woken him up? Ah yes, the door. Sleepily, he turned around toward it, vaguely curious.
Duo was standing in the doorway, a few bruises on his face but seemingly in good health, if a little tired. Still half asleep, the Chinese gave him a relieved little smile…
And everything fell on him at once. The hurt and incredulous, betrayed look from the American, and Heero's warm body snuggled against his back, one arm pressed against his bare torso. He opened his eyes wide, totally awake, when he saw his comrade's mauves irises troubled by slowly welling tears.
He opened his mouth. Nothing came out.
Duo bit his lip and, lowering his eyes, slowly picked up the backpack he had let fall at his feet.
He didn't know what hurt more, Heero or Wufei.
"Hey, you've arrived just at the right moment!"
Duo and Wufei both started, taken by surprise by this seemingly very incongruous declaration in the heavy and somewhat sad atmosphere. Heero had just straightened up on an elbow and was looking at the American, a little relieved smile playing on his face. The braided boy's jaw faintly fell down, and he forgot that he had been intending to leave, his eyes glued on the open and nearly warm expression on his boyfriend's face.
He didn't know if he was supposed to be jealous that this sight be offered to Wufei when it had been, until now, reserved for his eyes alone, or happy that Heero had evolved enough to succeed in letting his feelings escape from behind his stony mask when they weren't in the most complete intimacy.
"We were worried, Fei and me… Are you ok?"
Flabbergasted, Duo blinked a few times, to hold back the tears, at least for the time he needed to understand. Heero's behavior left him totally stupefied. It was definitely not the behavior of someone caught cheating on his official lover. No, it was as loving and honest as during their most intimate moments… an expression he had needed months to show before stopping to hide it from Duo, that he never, ever showed in someone else's presence.
"You seem tired… come?" continued the Japanese, reaching out to Duo, over the Chinese teenager's torso.
The backpack's strap slid from his fingers, and Wufei caught himself praying that he would stay, that he would agree to listen. If he broke them up, all would be finished. He couldn't stay with Yuy as a couple or even just like comrades. He respected him immensely and felt for him a sort of surly affection, but they could never tolerate each other without Duo to act as a buffer. He could never try to comfort Duo, their friendship would be definitely blown; as for asking him to be his own boyfriend after being the cause of his and Heero's separation, better not to dream. And even if Heero and Duo stayed together, there would always be this stain on their relationship, which, until then, was so admirable, so enviable.
"… come?" repeated Duo in a little, incredulous voice.
"We talked, Wufei and me, while you were gone…" answered Yuy in a lower tone, nearly intimate. "You know, he loves you too…"
Duo started, his eyes flew wide open, and his cheeks turned beet red.
"You told him? You're mad, Yuy!! I didn't want… I mean, I didn't want…" His voice went out, and he stared at the Chinese, who, eyes resolutely lowered, was standing up, gently pushing back the muscled arm still around his torso.
Reaching after him in the bed, Heero tried to hold him back, but the black-eyed pilot freed himself without looking at him and stepped away from the bed, his head low.
"Damn it, Duo, I thought I had taught you to think before you speak!" growled Heero while sitting on the edge of the bed, only covered with a sheet. The American grimaced when he realized that he had deeply hurt his best friend.
Heero had not lied…
… not that he ever did anyway, definitely not on questions of sentiments, not with something that important. Duo mentally called himself names. In spite of what could have happened, what seemed to have happened, he would never hate the Chinese boy enough to want to hurt him deliberately… and that's what he had just done.
Heero hadn't lied. Wufei… loved him. Too. What did it mean? What had happened between the two Asian teens? They had talked, yes, but… slept in the same bed? But it couldn't be that they had cheated on him, Heero would never have welcomed him like that, with a soft smile and an invitation… So… No, decidedly, things were not at all what they seemed at first glance. He couldn't assume things, he would have to ask…
And he would have to manage the black-haired boy's sensibility. He had hurt him once, he didn't want to hurt him again.
"Wufei?" Duo called softly, but the boy didn't lift his eyes, and tried to walk around him in silence to get out of the room. Duo refused to move.
"I didn't want to tell you because I was afraid that you wouldn't want to be my friend anymore, that it would change things…" admitted the braided boy in a whisper, lowering his eyes too. "But I… If Heero told you that I was… am… In love with you… It’s true. Entirely true."
Wufei looked up from the floor. Duo was torturing the end of his plait between his fingers, and his shoulders were lowered. He could imagine his ashamed expression without having to look at him.
Duo was making an effort to reopen the dialogue, even if he totally had the right to refuse to ever speak to him again. Wufei couldn't refuse to answer. Slowly, he looked up into his friend's face and met his eyes, forbidding himself from acting like a coward.
The other boy's violet eyes were fixed on him, glistening with a suspect moistness, pleading.
"What happened with Heero tonight, Wufei? Please, I’m not accusing you of anything, I just need to know. I trust you both, please tell me I’m not wrong… Please…"
Wufei bit his lip and turned his eyes away, staring at the wall. It felt good to hear Duo say that he trusted them, even faced with such overwhelming evidence that he shouldn't, but did he really believe them? Now that he thought of it, Wufei felt worse and worse about what had happened. For after all, he had well and truly done with Yuy things that he should have never authorized when his lover had not given his permission. This, nothing could change it.
He heard the other boy get up from the bed and step forward on the floor, feet bare, felt his presence near him, a welcome support. No, they hadn't intended to hurt Duo in any way, to betray him in whichever way. He had been convinced of that yesterday, Heero too. It was the intention that counted after all…right…?
"We talked… He told me he knew that I was in love with you, that you… loved me too, that… it didn't bother him to share you, if it made you happy… as long as I wasn't bothered either… and I accepted. We didn't betray you," he insisted with vehemence, trying to convince himself. "I know what it looked like, Duo, but… He had told me that you were sad to have to renounce me to have him, that you would be happy to have us both… He only wanted to please you, you shouldn't resent him. If he was wrong, I am sorry, I believed it too, it's my fault as much as his… to have believed that you…"
He took in a deep breath; his hands were shaking, and he had more and more trouble breathing without actually concentrating on it.
Duo was still silent.
"I'm sorry… I'll let you alone… I just… just wanted one chance…"
His throat tightened and he found himself unable to articulate one more syllable. He lowered his head once again and tried to step around Duo, who was still silent.
A slim and nervous body pressed against his torso and laced its arms around his neck before hiding its face against the hollow under his chin, caressing his cheeks with its long hair. Then two seconds later, a torso flattened against his back, a strong arm slid across his belly while the other, brushing against his hip, went to press a large and callused hand at the small of the braided American's back, pressing the three of them even more tightly together.
"You really proposed that by yourself, Heero?" asked Duo over Wufei's shoulder.
Prisoner between them, Wufei felt him shrug against his back, and caught himself being able to imagine to perfection his expression.
"It's what you said to me, right? That love can be shared but still not diminish? It was just a logical solution… I love you, he loves you, you love us, we respect each other enough to try…"
Duo chocked out a small laugh, still shaking from all those violent emotions, and pressed his cheek against Wufei's collarbone with a shaky sigh. One of his hands left the Chinese's nape to go play in the short-haired boy's hair, who inclined his head to press his cheek against his palm, like a cat under a caress.
"I think I had been wrong, you know, Heero… I told you a very silly thing."
"How is that?"
Here, Wufei knew that Heero was frowning, and his nose would be just slightly creased, because it wasn't really his you're-gonna-get-it scowl, but his whazzit-he's-saying?-me-no-understand frown, a rather common subspecies of his panoply of expressions Duo-is-in-the-vicinity.
"To have risked that for me… I don't love you as much … I love you more…" answered Duo with a laugh made shaky by the tears in his voice. Not quite knowing what to do, Wufei closed his arms around him, closing his eyes. He felt Heero tighten his embrace, as unable as he was to give a name to the wave of emotions threatening to collapse on them.
They stayed like that for a long time, and then one of them, they didn't know which one, it seemed more like a collective decision after all, began to direct them to the bed waiting under the steep roof.
There would have only been two places usually, two little places, but no one really wanted to release his hold on the others. They huddled together under the sheets like children, tangled into each other, a pile of tired kittens, and, in only a few minutes only, exhausted by the emotional storm they had undergone, they were asleep.